Drop in Body Temperature Linked to Dementia

It is normal for people to experience a drop in body temperature with age, but a new study has found that drops in temperature can lead to more than just a chill. A study from Canada found that by increasing body temperature, they could slow the production of beta-amyloid and improve the memory in mice.Drop in Body Temperature Linked to Dementia

Learn more about this study and how the drop in body temperature was linked to dementia.

Body Temperature Linked to Dementia in Mice

A research team from Universite Laval in Canada conducted a study that concluded increasing body temperature could help halt the production of beta-amyloid and improve the memory in mice with dementia. Their study suggests that thermoregulation could also help humans with the disease.

Dr. Frederic Calon, lead author of the study, stated:

“We know that the incidence of Alzheimer’s is low before age 65, but doubles every five to six years afterward. We also know that metabolism and body temperature decrease as people get older. We therefore tested the hypothesis that the changes in the body’s thermoregulation that occur with age amplify the main manifestations of Alzheimer’s and that a vicious circle can even set in because the disease expresses itself in certain areas of the brain involved in temperature regulation.”

Scientists used mice with dementia (transgenic mice) and mice without (as a control) to test their theory and found that the transgenic mice were not as able to maintain body temperature as they aged and that symptoms of Alzheimer’s were exacerbated when exposed to lower temperatures. They also found that symptoms of Alzheimer’s were mitigated when the transgenic mice were exposed to warmer temperatures.

Dr. Calon noted, “The abnormal tau proteins responsible for neuron deterioration increase more in transgenic mice than normal mice, and the loss of synaptic proteins is more pronounced.”

Thermoregulation as Therapy for People with Dementia

Because the study produced such promising results in mice, researchers are looking into testing the effects of thermoregulation on people living with dementia.

Dr. Calon says:

“Our findings suggest that it is worth exploring the treatment of thermoregulation among seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s.”

“If our conclusions are confirmed, it would be a relatively easy therapeutic option to implement because body temperature can be increased through physical activity, diet, drugs or simply by increasing the ambient temperature,” he stated.

Have you seen a correlation between body temperature and symptoms of the disease? What do you think about thermoregulation being linked to dementia? Share your stories with us in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Lubybel

    I have found that my husband does feel cold a lot of the time … even when I am very lightly dressed. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 6 years ago at the age of 56. Whilst the first 4/5 years involved a cognitive decline I am now noticing other systems of the disease becoming more apparent, one being the constant feeling of being cold. It take quite a time ( I’m talking of hours ) for him to feel warm even though he is under blankets/duvet.

    • Joanne Kearsey

      My mother has vascular dementia and is always cold. In the middle of a hot and humid summer, she closed all the windows turned on the heating! Now she has been placed in a residence and is always turning the thermostat in her room to 30 degrees. It is stifling yet she is still cold. She wears heavy sweaters, thick socks but nothing seems to warm her.

  • Susasn

    My mother has vascular dementia. She recently had a fever, and her mental functioning was completely restored to normal for two days. When the fever subsided, her mental condition returned to a confused state, accompanied by increasing exhaustion

    • Alz-daughter

      I posted above – they THINK my Mom has Vascular, too but have not confirmed it so that is interesting. We now do the broth thing every to 1 to 2 hours. Just like an 1/8 of a cup. Itis only temporary so you have to keep up with with it but for her it really helps. She even notices that she feels so much better.

  • Alz-daughter

    I totally beleive this. Mom has dementia – not too bad – but defnite issues. She has been waking up in the middle of night and is nearly delirious. We ususally check her blood pressure and decided to check her temperature. We were horrified that it was a very low 96 and piled on the blankets. Doctor does not seem concerned. We now give hot broth every 2 hours and continally monitor temp. If the temp gets into the 97 range she feels much better, 96 range semi OK and between 95.5 and 96 full-on episode. She has had blood work and many tests – her body does not seem to be able t regulate.

  • Jim

    People who claim body temperature effects whether you get dementia like to show this map of cases by country: http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/alzheimers-dementia/by-country/
    As you can see it doesn’t strictly follow average temperature of a country.
    A better theory would be low levels of vitamin D help lead to dementia. This would follow the map better.
    Reference on Vitamin creation: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/vitamin-d-and-your-health-breaking-old-rules-raising-new-hopes
    Yeh right, stay in the house and be warm…

    • Alz-daughter

      Interesting and I fully agree. My Mom’s levels of Vitamin D are perfect – she gets 5,000 per day with 90 of Vitamin K and is never out in the sun BUT before all this started (dementia/cognitive) I bet she was low in D since she breaks out from the sun and rarely spent time outside. She was never tested for it when she was feeling good – when I noticed symptoms I supplemented her and by the time tests were taken her level were good.

  • Alz-daughter

    I posted here months back after reading some of these comments about my Mom having a direct correlation between low body temperature and worsening of her dementia. Doctors have not given a definitive diagnosis and lean toward Vascular, FTD or a combination.

    We are in an overall warm west coast climate. The weather has just started getting very cold at night and mother has been acting strangely again – pacing at night – shallow breathing ..etc. After the second night of this –I took her temp –95.2. Immediately put thermal clothing on her and gave her soup and got her temp back up to 97.2 -it rarely goes higher than that.

    I truly see a correlation between declining body temp and worsening of symptoms. We now have her dress in layers during the day – cotton lounge outfit with heavy fleece pants over it and a thermal top and socks. When early evening arrives we have her put on thermal pants under the fleece and give broth every 2 hours and she is much better.

    I know the disease is progressing but keeping her temp up helps a lot.

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